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Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys

THE BLACK KEYS
Lollapalooza, Bud Light stage
Friday, Aug. 3, 2007

Setlist:
Thickfreakness
Girl Is On My Mind
Just Got to Be
10 A.M. Automatic
The Breaks
Stack Shot Billy
Busted
Set You Free
Everywhere I Go
Your Touch
Grown So Ugly
I Got Mine
No Trust
Have Love, Will Travel

 


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Windy City Sounds: Marching through Lollapalooza 2007 (cont.)

FRIDAY, AUG. 3

The journey to Grant Park involved me telling Rick over and over that I really wanted to see Charlie Musselwhite, and that I didn’t care how great Daft Punk were expected to be, I’m camping out for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. If the man didn’t hate me by the time we arrived, I would be lucky.

As we walked down the street and into the enormous blowup “Lollapalooza” entrance, I was in awe. Behind the entrance was Buckingham Fountain, you know — the fountain from the opening credits of Married…With Children — in all its glory, the most magnificent fountain I’ve ever seen. But this wasn’t just Al Bundy territory, this was Lollapalooza, where the legend of Pearl Jam partially began; where countless bands elated sizable crowds, from Soundgarden to Sonic Youth, Rage Against the Machine to Cypress Hill, George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The first point of business was to head over to the Playstation Stage, one of eight stages in the park devoted to music, culture and good times, for Charlie Musselwhite. We got there early … too early. We were the only ones, save for a handful of people passing through, so we decided to spend a few minutes at the Lolla Store first to see what they had for sale. 20 minutes and $70 later, we returned for Charlie’s set and placed ourselves right at the front barricade, left of stage, for our initial leap into Lollapalooza. The blues legend with his array of harmonicas ripped through an amazing set, touching on every possible angle a blues artist can take while still being blues. He didn’t come alone though, as he was armed with a fantastic guitarist, complete with a handlebar mustache that made him look like they randomly dragged him out of an 18-wheeler and asked him if he could help them out. And he obliged with magnificent blues chops to complement Charlie’s harmonica and the rest of the band.

From there, we discussed various options, settling on seeing Slightly Stoopid on reputation alone on our way to moe. Slightly Stoopid was unfortunately exactly that, a seemingly uninspired rehash of the Sublime and its followers’ era. So, on to moe., one of the bands I was looking forward to. The band put on a very uneven set, going from some incredibly rocking jams to some frustrating lulls that seemed never to end. After about 45 minutes of that from approximately 20 feet from stage, we decided to head out early for G. Love and Special Sauce, as they were at the stage closest to where the Black Keys would be playing following G. Love’s set. We made about 2 songs into G. Love’s set when the combination of pure heat, distance from the stage, and the anticipation of the Black Keys lead us away from the Adidas stage over to camping out near the Bud Light stage for the killer combo to come of the Black Keys followed by Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals.

When the Black Keys finally took to the stage, the crowd was a-buzz, not initially with the raw blues rock blast the Keys were dishing out in blistering fashion, but with the fact that Dan Auerbach’s beard was so overgrown that rare species were certain to have nested in the thick forrest of facial hair stretching down past his neck to his collar bone. After that shock settled in, as well as the discovery that while mashing his drum kit, Patrick Carney looks incredibly like Dave Grohl, we really started to get into what the Black Keys were pushing. The combination of fuzz and notes exploding out of Auerbach’s guitar is nothing short of monstrous, similar to what I imagine grinding your fist into raw chop meat would feel like. And Carney’s pummeling of anything within striking distance from his lanky arms provided the perfect complement as they tore through songs from their entire catalogue, from “Busted” to “10 AM Automatic” to “Set You Free.” At one point during “Everywhere I Go,” I could only think of how bad I felt for the tambourine in Carney’s right hand. After playing the new song “I Got Mine” and one other song, the Black Keys were done and had thoroughly rocked the joint.

Many headed over to the big AT&T stage for Daft Punk. We took the opportunity to move closer, within 15 to 20 rows of human flesh to the stage for the Friday night finale.

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